Ninth Circuit

Affirmative ActionCalls to break up the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals are floated on a regular basis. They surfaced again in late April after the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against President Trump’s immigrant travel ban. Could such a breakup be done? Yes, but breaking up, even for a federal judicial circuit, can be hard to do. 


Article III of the U.S. Constitution, dating back to 1789, gives Congress the power to configure the judicial system, as it sees best. It says: “The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” It also says, “The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.”

The Ninth Circuit, one of 13 federal circuits, stretches from Alaska down the West Coast to California and other states in the Southwest. Some have called for breaking up this judicial circuit because of the perception the court leans left in its rulings. Others have argued that the Ninth Circuit covers too large an area, and that judicial efficiency warrants a breakup. However, only Congress has the authority to break up a judicial circuit.




American Bar Association

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